I think we have all been in that place where we are struggling with something, and a good willed person says:
“You are just going to have to let it go.”
They make it sound so easy, as if we could just flip a switch in our minds.
But, is it really that easy? Of course not! And if the table were turned, and we offered that advice to that same person… we might be met with a dagger eyed stare. Letting go, isn’t that easy. It never has been.
I can recall teaching my toddlers how to walk, their little fingers tightly gripped around my own. They are totally walking on their own, they don’t need to hold on to me, but they are afraid to let go. No matter how much we try to tell them to “just let go”, or even slip our fingers out of their grasp, they clench their grip tighter.
The reason why letting go is so hard, is because we’ve been holding on for so long.
We hold onto friendships, even unhealthy ones, because we have been in each others lives for so long … we can’t imagine a day where we could just stop caring. We can’t imagine a day without them in our life, imperfections and all.
We hold onto memories of past relationships, even bad ones, because we were intertwined in each others lives for so long. We were a team, taking on the world together. How do you just walk away and never look back?
We mourn over deaths, sometimes indefinitely, because these were people who were integral in our lives. We don’t want to forget them, so we hold on even tighter to their memory.
We hold on, out of fear, to our children as they grow up. We are afraid we haven’t taught them enough, we are afraid they will make bad decisions, or that the world will wort them. We hold on because we care too much to let go.
Yes, there are times where we absolutely need to let go, no matter what it may cost us.
There are other times, where what we need isn’t to let go… but distance and patience.
And sometimes, we need to hold on… with everything we have.
Continuing to hold on can be even more painful than letting go.
We must rely on God to give us discernment to know when it is appropriate to hold on, and when we really need to let go. Then, we need to rely on God to help us in the process. How long do we hold on for, and what actions and boundaries are to be in place? If we are called to let go, then we need strength to do so without looking back and doubting if we made the right decision.
We must also examine our own hearts in the matter.
Am I unable to let go, because I hope for reconciliation?
That is a good thing.
Am I unable to let go, because I want evidence that I was right?
That’s a bit prideful.
Am I unable to let go, because I want to see them fail?
Am I holding on, because I feel like I can save them?
Am I holding on, because I can’t live without them?
Letting go isn’t easy. It is also not always the right thing to do. We can’t always make these decisions on our own, we need wisdom of godly counsel of others and we need to be praying to God to direct our hearts.